The Digital Age is in full swing within the housing industry. Homebuyers can search for homes, take virtual tours and begin the mortgage approval process, whereas home sellers can compare prices and begin the selling process from their laptop, smartphone or tablet before even stepping foot into the office of a real estate agent or mortgage lender.
Today’s virtual meeting options, online calculation and rate tools are changing the way home mortgage lenders work, and they’re simplifying the process for buyers and sellers.
Last week on my Lykken on Lending radio show, we were discussing the state of the industry and I heard some discouraging news. While some aspects of the economy are improving and there are signs of recovery, the number of foreclosures is still up. People are still losing their homes—so, the industry still has a long way to go when it comes to recovery.
If you ask most business owners in most industries where the majority of their business comes from, they'll all tell you one thing: loyal customers. People who buy once are transactions; people who buy twice are clients. Attracting new customers is must more expensive, time consuming, and risky than keeping customers you've already attracted. Moreover, a loyal customer is much more likely to tell his friends about you. Companies in every industry thrive on repeat business.
A recent initiative taken by the current Presidential Administration has raised an issue in the mortgage industry in which there is much disagreement: Should we loosen credit standards again in America? Of course, we want more people to be able to afford mortgages. That's what puts deals into the pipeline. That's what causes momentum to build in the industry. For this reason, many in the industry have been supportive of loosening credit standards.
The mortgage industry is slowly but surely going digital. Rather than rely on face-to-face meetings, phone calls and emailed or faxed paperwork, lenders and mortgage brokers are now embracing new technologies to make the mortgage process easier, faster and more convenient for their customers.
And homebuyers are happy about it.
One mark of a great leader is the ability to delegate. Carrying all the weight of your organization's success on your own shoulders is a recipe for disaster. You need a leadership team to which you can distribute responsibilities. Solid leadership is knowing how to put the right people in the right places for the right results. You can't do everything yourself, but you can find the right people you need to help you.
When I write and speak to executives in the mortgage industry about leadership, I am often addressing two different things. The first has to do with the work. How do you approach your work in the industry? What skills and attributes are you developing to help you do your job better? This type of leadership is about leading projects. There is another type of leadership that people tend to think about more when they're considering ideas of leadership. This second type of leadership is about leading people.
Over the years I've spent meeting with leaders in the mortgage industry, I've noticed that one of the most important signatures of a great leader is how well organized that leader is. It may seem like a petty thing to notice, and it may not even seem that important of an attribute for a leader to possess. Sometimes, I think we have this notion that a great leader is about organization—that his thinking and work is beyond the need to stay organized.
Last week on my Lykken on Lending radio show, we discussed the opportunity mortgage organizations are now facing in outsourcing a particular service--and it got me thinking about outsourcing in more general terms. Many leaders in our industry are afraid to outsource, because it means letting go of control. It involves a great deal of trust in the vendor and, therefore, entails a fair amount of risk. Now, this may sound like a bad thing. But, could it also be a good thing?